Posts filed under ‘customer focus’

What business are you in?

When I work with a coaching client, I ask a lot of questions starting with…

— What business are you in?
— What products do you sell?
— What services do you provide?

When a potential customer takes a look at your website, brochure, mailer, biz card…

— What do you want them to learn?
— What do you want them to think?
— What do you want them to feel?
— What do you want them to know?
— What do you want them to do?

When it comes to websites, I ask…

What problem(s) does your website solve?
— … for whom?

When I get a sense of the answers from my client’s perspective, I ask…

— How would your marketing team answer these questions?
— How about your sales team?
— How would your customers answer them?
— How do you know?

If the answer to the last question is not convincing — and it almost never is — I suggest that we work on finding a way to get solid answers to these questions before we do anything else. It is rare for a CEO, sales manager, marketing director and a select group of customers to agree on a description of a business and its products/services, let alone the message(s) they are trying to communicate.

If you think it is time to make sure your company is strategically aligned, here are some real world tools from Kevin Connolly, marketing guy.

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May 28, 2008 at 2:18 pm Leave a comment

Google Alert update.

A few days ago, I blogged about using Google Alerts to find out if somebody’s talking about you online. Google offers a zero cost, essentially passive way to monitor your online reputation, keep an eye on the competition, and create opportunities to touch customers when their names are mentioned.

Sad note: I got a Google Alert this morning that told me a customer’s mother had just passed away in another state. I’m on my way to pick up a card to send my condolences. Email just won’t work for some messages.

You might reasonably ask, what does this have to do with marketing? Well, if marketing is about relationships, and I believe it is, then driving to the Hallmark Store, writing a sincere note and dropping the card in the mail will help build an important marketing relationship. If not, who cares? It’s the right thing to do.

May 12, 2008 at 12:09 pm Leave a comment

Hey! Somebody’s talking about you.

Somebody’s talking about you, your company, or your products… and you can find out what they’re saying, whenever they say it. All it takes is a few minutes of effort and zero cost thanks to Google Alerts. Free and easy competitive intelligence.

It will take about 10 seconds to set up an alert for your name. Another 10 seconds for your company’s name… 10 seconds each for your product names. Just enter your search terms, type of search and frequency. The tricky part is the email address. If you have the time, enter your own. If you don’t, assign a dedicated surfer. Ask them to visit the links and report back or forward anything significant.

So, somebody’s talking about you. What’s next? Join the conversation. If they’re saying something nice, say thank you. If they’re saying something negative, say thank you and add some positive comments that might turn them around.

You can also try a customer-focused marketing twist. Set up alerts for key customers, companies, products. If somebody says something nice, send a personal note including the link. If somebody says something not so nice, teach your customer how to use Google Alerts.

May 8, 2008 at 7:38 am Leave a comment

What’s up with boomer marketing?

I’m 58. I was born near the leading-edge of the baby boom. I am not a “senior citizen.”

I once gave a local barber a dirty look and a piece of my mind when he offered me a senior discount. I should have shut up and kept the $5, but he caught me by surprise. I was only 55. Sheeeesh!

I was appalled when AARP sent me an invitation to join when I turned 50. A couple years later, I joined just to see what it was all about. I let my membership expire after deciding AARP is essentially an organization that exists to license its membership list to insurance companies and other marketers who target the “senior” demographic. Yeah, they do some lobbying, but they never asked me what I’d like them to lobby for so thanks, but no thanks.

Continue Reading May 2, 2008 at 11:50 am Leave a comment

Dedicated surfer scores PR win for Comcast.

I have often encouraged CEOs and senior managers of midsize businesses to find someone in their life to be a dedicated surfer, someone who can keep an eye on the social web for good or bad comments about their companies or their competitors.

Comcast (not a client) has apparently adopted this approach in its efforts to climb out of the customer service cellar. Only time will tell if customer service scores will improve, but here’s an example of a single contact that resulted in major publicity for Comcast and a company in Philadelphia called iFractal.

clipped from seattletimes.nwsource.com

Stormy times for Comcast

The Philadelphia Inquirer

PHILADELPHIA — Most afternoons, the Internet in Sarah Chambers’ office at iFractal in Philadelphia crashes and leaves her cyber-stranded without e-mail or online communication with clients.

When it happened for the zillionth time a few days ago, Chambers tried something new, once her Web connection reappeared. She shot Comcast a curt public online message on the social-networking site Twitter:

“My Internet goes out every day at 3:30. Why would that be?”

Frank Eliason, a Comcast manager with the daunting assignment of monitoring the nation’s blogosphere for venomous posts aimed at the company, answered right away: “That should not be. We should have that looked at. Send an e-mail with account info to We_Can_Help@cable.comcast.com.”

  blog it

May 1, 2008 at 10:55 am Leave a comment

Wisdom of customers… revisited.

In my recent post on Tapping the wisdom of customers. I talked about Dell’s IdeaStorm as powered by SalesForce.com. It seemed like a valuable if pricey way to gather ideas and test them out before putting them in the development cue.

At $5/user, I thought the SalesForce solution might be too rich for most midsize companies. But if the idea farming process works, I expected to see competitive options in the near future. Here’s one, currently in beta…

Continue Reading April 25, 2008 at 7:52 am 5 comments

How can a small businesses build its brand?

I spotted an interesting question on LinkedIN today, “For Small – Medium Size Business Owners, what is the #1 Marketing tool they should be using to build their brand.”

A lot of the responders talked about techniques… writing articles, blogging, networking, direct mail, “the internet.” It occurred to me that the #1 tool that every small to midsize business should use to build their brand is attitude. My suggestion…

Continue Reading April 17, 2008 at 10:38 am Leave a comment

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